An MLB Trade Rumors piece yesterday linked Bronson Arroyo to the Baltimore Orioles. Let’s be clear; Arroyo has been linked with several teams according to the article, including the Birds. So it’s not as if Baltimore is the only market into which he has the opportunity to land. However, the piece also states that Arroyo is looking for a longer term deal than only the two years that the Orioles have presumably discussed with him (through his agent). So what gives? Is Arroyo the starting pitcher for whom the Orioles have been searching? Is that third year negotiable on either side?
I’ll put it this way…if I were Dan Duquette I’d strongly consider giving a pitcher that third year – be it Arroyo or someone else. It appears that there aren’t very many pitchers of substance who are going to be interested in signing for only two guaranteed years (the exception perhaps being A.J. Burnett, if he plays in 2014). I would recommend to Dan Duquette that he get out there and get someone inked to a deal because moving forward names will start going off the board with more fervor and the Orioles could find themselves in a pickle.
But the question is how interested are the Birds in Arroyo? Let’s be clear; he wouldn’t be a pitcher in his prime that would be the final piece to a would-be championship team. However I think he could be a piece that would help the Orioles continually ensure that they’ll be competitive in 2014. What you do when you add a pitcher like Arroyo is to push back your weakest would-be starter. At the moment, the Orioles look to have Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, and Wei-Yin Chen penciled in as starters in 2014 (with Tillman perhaps written in ink). So that leaves one slot that in theory could be up for grabs. Perhaps that goes to Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, or someone else. However whichever one of those would be thought of as the weakest link could find themselves either relegated to the bullpen or in triple-A if someone like Arroyo (or Burnett, Garza, etc) is on the Orioles.
So if Bronson Arroyo or anyone else is balking because they’re not getting a third guaranteed year, I’d say go for it from the Orioles’ standpoint. Perhaps see if the player will accept a club option or something along those lines, but the fact is that the Birds need to make some sort of addition to the starting rotation. Arroyo may be a bit past his prime, but he’s a reliable starter that would provide the Orioles with good innings and quality starts.